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  • For a frozen pizza brand to stand out, it has  to go beyond simple crust, sauce, and cheese.  

  • DiGiorno did just that as its rising crust pizza  quickly took over the market. Keep watching to  

  • discover what you need to know about one  of the most popular frozen pizzas around.

  • DiGiorno originated as a product of its  time. Frozen pizza started appearing in  

  • grocery stores in the northeastern  United States in the early 1950s,  

  • thanks to the common household refrigeratorOne of the first pieces of historical evidence  

  • of the product was a patent granted  in 1954 to a man named Joseph Bucci.  

  • Within the decade, the New England  trend had spread throughout the country.

  • Then in the 60s, Rose Totino  stepped into the game.  

  • And then came the Red Baron line  in the 1970s. But soon enough,  

  • DiGiorno arrived and quickly eclipsed the rest of  the frozen pizza section of most grocery stores.  

  • Kraft launched DiGiorno in 1995 and it quickly  became a hit with the promise of that rising  

  • crust. And it could indeed pass for deliveryjust like the famous ad campaign promised.

  • "For fresh-baked pizza at homeit's not delivery, it's DiGiorno."

  • In 2018, USA Today reported that DiGiorno was  the best-selling frozen pizza on the planet,  

  • as it accounted for nearly  half the sales in the industry.

  • Things continued to progress for DiGiorno  into the 21st century. In 2010, the brand was  

  • acquired by Nestlé. The purchase was actually  a strategic move by the Swiss multinational,  

  • as it had had only a small presence in North  America's frozen pizza game before that point.  

  • The company also owned Stouffer's French Bread  Pizza, but this movie promised to take things  

  • to another level, as the acquisition  of DiGiorno also enabled Nestlé the  

  • opportunity to leverage some rather significant  pizza-making know-how in the European market.

  • New corporate ownership wasn't the only change  for DiGiorno at that time, as certain ingredients  

  • had to be manipulated for them to be within  compliance of Nestlé's nutritional standards.  

  • In particular, the sodium levels were off  the charts, and the dough was the culprit.

  • According to the American Heart Association, nine  out of 10 Americans consume too much sodium, and  

  • more than 70 percent of that comes from processed  and restaurant foods. A high sodium diet may cause  

  • puffiness, bloating, and weight gain, and it can  also put people at risk for osteoporosis, stroke,  

  • heart failure, and even stomach cancer. DiGiorno  pizza had an above-average sodium content in its  

  • crust, which was caused by the baking powder  that Kraft used for the signature rising dough.

  • "Sodium." "Well, if you don't  know anything about sodium now,  

  • I don't know what else we can do for ya."

  • After Nestlé acquired DiGiorno, Nestlé  executive Paul Bakus and his team  

  • created a pepperoni pizza with 10 percent less  sodium. At a tasting, he couldn't notice any  

  • difference with the new version, but pepperoni  lovers could. As the sodium problem persisted,  

  • Nestlé went on to try other solutions. They  toyed with the idea of replacing sodium chloride,  

  • or table salt, with the similar  compound potassium chloride.  

  • They also began featuring portion  control guidance on its packaging.

  • We've yet to get into the nitty-gritty of cheeseand it's possible that DiGiorno prefers it that  

  • way, as it wasn't all that long ago that their  cheese made headlines for all the wrong reasons.  

  • In 2013, the animal rights group Mercy for  Animals released an undercover video that  

  • featured severe animal abuse at Wiese  Brothers' Farm in Greenleaf, Wisconsin.  

  • The video included footage of cows being beaten  and stabbed before being dragged by a tractor.

  • This was bad news for frozen pizza fans as it  turned out that the farm supplied the cheese  

  • for Nestle pizzas, including DiGiorno. At  the time, Nestlé spokesperson Deborah Cross  

  • said that the company was dedicated  to the humane treatment of animals.  

  • The company quickly cut off its supply of Wiese  farm cheese. In a statement, the Wiese family  

  • said that it was "shocked and saddened" by the  video. Today, the mozzarella used on DiGiorno  

  • pizza is still 100 percent sourced from the  Midwest, but not from this particular farm.

  • If there's one perfect food to pair with  pizza, it might just be chicken wings.  

  • Boneless wings have been slowly stealing the  spotlight from its more traditional brethren,  

  • so much so that in 2011 DiGiorno introduced  its Pizza & Boneless Wyngz combo box.  

  • The spelling of "wyngz" with a "y" and a "z" isn't  just a matter of the marketing department's effort  

  • to be cool. It's actually government-mandated  by the United States Department of Agriculture,  

  • as this product does not in fact  contain any meat from a chicken's wing.

  • As it turns out, wyngz are a chicken fritter  product, which means they're made with white-meat  

  • chicken, but not necessarily wing-meat chickenDiGiorno had even more rules to follow in addition  

  • to the spelling requirement. This included that  the product must contain white meat and the word  

  • "wyngz" had to be in the same color font and  not hidden inconspicuously on the packaging.  

  • Getting even weirder and more specificthe smallest letter in "wyngz"  

  • could not be more than one-third smaller  than the largest letter in the name.

  • DiGiorno goes under a different name in the  frozen food section of the frozen north,  

  • and that name is Delissio. Nestlé owns both brand  names, as the two came together in a package deal,  

  • and Kraft had been selling frozen pizza in  Canada as Delissio as far back as the '80s.

  • When Nestlé took over in 2010, they decided to  keep the alternate brand name instead of pulling  

  • a switcheroo on an entire country. But there's no  need to look into any dual citizenship options,  

  • as Delissio offers the same features  as its American counterpart.  

  • It's known for its rise-in-the-oven crustand it uses the same marketing language.  

  • That means that north of the  border, the commercials end with:

  • "It's not delivery, it's Delissio." The best part of Delissio might  

  • just be its cheerful website, which  spouts off Canada-specific facts like:

  • "40 million DELISSIO pizzas are sliced  at Canadian pizza nights every year!"

  • and, "Nestlé is a proud partner of Food Banks Canada."

  • DiGiorno likes to have its fun on the internetThere was that time in 2013 when the brand  

  • live-tweeted NBC's airing of The Sound of Music  Live! They also clap back at other brands,  

  • joke around with customers, and just put random  thoughts out into the Twittersphere, such as,

  • "Pizza sauce a blood type?"

  • But in September 2014, the brand really misread  the room. In the wake of NFL running back Ray  

  • Rice's assault on his then-fianceethe hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft  

  • were being used on Twitter to haveconversation about domestic violence  

  • and for people to share their stories of abuse  and survival. Then DiGiorno chimed in with,

  • "#WhyIStayed You had pizza."

  • Angry responses arrived swiftly, with many  accusing the brand of shameless promotion.  

  • As it turns out, the social media team just  hadn't looked into the hashtag's meaning.  

  • They then tried to explain  the misstep by tweeting,

  • "A million apologies. Did not read what  the hashtag was about before posting."

  • Nestlé spokesperson Roz O'Hearn  later released a statement that said,

  • "This tweet was a mistake, quickly  realized as such and deleted seconds later.  

  • Our community managerand the  entire DiGiorno teamis truly  

  • sorry. The tweet does not reflect  our values and we've been personally  

  • responding to everyone who has engaged  with us on social media. We apologize."

  • Indiana is known for many things. Its capital  is the great city of Indianapolis. It's the home  

  • state of NBA legend Larry Bird. And there  was also that time that a Little Caesars  

  • in the town of Griffith was accused of serving  DiGiorno pizzas. In 2018, a man named Vincent  

  • Romero recorded a video of a shopping cart  of DiGiorno frozen pizzas behind the counter  

  • at a K-Mart location of Little Caesars. He  then posted it on Twitter with the caption,

  • "This can't be happening right in front of me."

  • The video was eventually viewed overmillion times on Twitter. Ultimately,  

  • the issue was cleared up when Kmart spokeswoman  Jill Proctor told media outlets that Kmart was  

  • disposing expired DiGiorno pizzas when the  video was shot. In a statement, Proctor said,

  • "Of course, Little Caesars only serves  freshly baked pizzas made from fresh dough.  

  • After some investigating, it turns out that what  appeared in this video was a funny coincidence."

  • Regardless of the reason behind this incidentit turned everyone into quite the comedian.  

  • DiGiorno itself responded  to the original tweet with,

  • "We're just as curious as you."

  • Little Caesars then got in on the  action two days later by joking,

  • "Apparently, this store has a trade-in program."

  • To which DiGiorno replied,

  • "Two days to come up with that? Really?"

  • Besides its rising crust featureDiGiorno is best known for its tagline,

  • "It's not delivery. It's DiGiorno."

  • It's been featured in countless commercialsand it's still stamped proudly on the top of  

  • its packaging. But has the slogan changed over  time? While the wording has stayed the same,  

  • has the attitude behind it been altered a bit?

  • A 2019 Eater article examined these questions by  arguing that DiGiorno's slogan has undergone a  

  • natural progression as the pizza delivery  concept has lost a bit of its shine.  

  • Gone are the days when parents leaving their  kids a couple of $20 bills to order pizza was  

  • something to get excited about. We can now order  just about any food we want thanks to third-party  

  • delivery apps. Pizza delivery at this point is so  common that we pretty much take it for granted.  

  • To brag that something isn't delivery isn't  saying much anymore. Thus DiGiorno has had to  

  • be more hard-hitting with its message to keep  up. One particular 2013 commercial features an  

  • insanely irresponsible delivery driver, and  slightly alters the famed catchphrase to:

  • "Thankfully it's not delivery, it's DiGiorno."

  • DiGiorno may still be using its same old slogan,  

  • even though delivery isn't the  measurement of pizza perfection anymore.

  • DiGiorno offers a handful of vegetarian optionsand it recently decided to take things one step  

  • further. In December 2019, it was reported that  a pizza topped with a meat alternative would be  

  • released in spring 2020 in tandem with another  Nestlé product, Stouffer's Meatless Lasagna.  

  • Both products were set to feature Awesome Grounds,  a plant-based meat substitute created by the  

  • company Sweet Earth. Awesome Grounds is made from  yellow pea protein, wheat gluten, and canola and  

  • coconut oils. It's textured to resemble ground  beef and holds 16 grams of protein and 4 grams  

  • of fiber per serving. Nestlé Foods Division  President John Carmichael said in a statement,

  • "There's no denying the current modern food  movement is revolutionizing the plant-based space.  

  • By adding Sweet Earth Awesome Grounds  to Stouffer's and DiGiorno offerings,  

  • we're able to offer our customers the chance to  incorporate plant-based meals into their diets  

  • while still enjoying the same convenience and  delicious flavor of brands they know and trust."

  • While the Awesome Grounds pizza is a great  option for vegetarians, it isn't fully vegan,  

  • as it still contains mozzarella cheese. On  behalf of all the vegans who love frozen pizza,  

  • here's hoping that DiGiorno is looking  into some cheese replacement possibilities.

  • During the COVID-19 pandemicfrozen pizza has become  

  • a freezer staple and Digiorno's  sales have risen accordingly.

  • "People have started buying  up all the frozen pizza."

  • Nestlé has reportedly seen its frozen food  products increase steadily in popularity because  

  • of lockdown orders. By May 16, 2020, Americans had  spent more than $15.5 billion in the past eleven  

  • weeks on frozen food at the grocery store, a 40.2  percent increase from the same period in 2019.  

  • Additionally, Nielsen data showed that sales  of freezer units were also up. In April,  

  • they had increased by 195 percent compared  to the same period the previous year.

  • This is likely due to restaurant closures  worldwide, as well as shoppers desiring comfort  

  • food as the virus spreads. Even Nestlé Food  Division President John Carmichael is impressed as  

  • he's seen DiGiorno's sales spike upward over the  course of several months. He told CNN Business,

  • "It's a robust category that is getting  the biggest trial event in its history."

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For a frozen pizza brand to stand out, it has  to go beyond simple crust, sauce, and cheese.  

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What You Should Know Before Buying Another DiGiorno Pizza

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    Bowei Chen   posted on 2020/11/11
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